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Recent Comments

Re: “Who’s Worse: Obama or the Chron?

@ yoyo,

Normally people speak to reporters on the record, their names attached to their quoted or paraphrased words. The whole idea, after all, is to get people on the record, but especially official spokesman, elected or appointed government officials and institutional leaders.

When someone wants to obscure or hide their identity the reporter may decide that is worthwhile or necessary, but the reporter, not the source, controls this decision. After all, when a prosecutor or litigant tries to find out who the source is the reporter is the one who may have to go to jail to defend keeping the identity secret.

Posted by DavidCayJohnston on 05/02/2011 at 6:39 AM

Re: “Who’s Worse: Obama or the Chron?

@ yoyo, no need for apologies.

My critique was at a website for journalists, who should understand nuances about on the record, background, deep background, but amazingly many do not.
I have written critiques for almost 40 years on such inside baseball for journalists and regularly lecture from Norway west to China on journalistic technique, standards and ethics.

The Chron's Bushee sent a response to my critique to the Romenesko blog for journalists that only makes the Chron's conduct look worse. Just below my post (followed by my reply) at:


Posted by DavidCayJohnston on 05/01/2011 at 9:04 AM

Re: “Who’s Worse: Obama or the Chron?

@ yoyo guru

Its Johnston. Cay is my middle name.

The reporter controls the privilege. And the reporter must defend it, if necessary by going to jail. No such obligation exists for the source granted the privilege.

Conversations with reporters, especially by government officials, are presumed to be for publication.

The source can ask for privileged treatment, but the journalist alone decides what limits to place on the interview. And if the reporter says no the source can decline to talk. In my experience, especially with the GWBush White House, that was easily overcome by simply advising that in that case my report the next morning in The New York Times would contain this line:

The White House declined comment on the record.

That worked every single time.

To think as you do means the source controls the journalism. The source does not and never should.

Posted by DavidCayJohnston on 04/29/2011 at 5:42 PM

Re: “Tax the Rich!

Writer of the piece here,

@ mike hardesty who wrote “The greatest job growth in our history occurred after the 1981 Reagan tax cuts and the 1963 Kennedy tax cuts.”
That is not true. And I have done analyses of this from many perspectives from GDP growth to wages to job creation.

During the 12 Reagan-Bush years the average income of the bottom 90 percent declined and during the eight Clinton years their average incomes rose more than 15% and incomes at the top grew at roughly double the rate of the Reagan-Bush 12 years.

And since the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts we have gone nowhere. Individual income taxes in 2010 were down 27% compared to the recession year of 2001, for example.

@ maria ku, actually you are wrong– my sentence was about two years so the annual figures you cite are, for two years, what I wrote.

Posted by DavidCayJohnston on 04/14/2011 at 5:57 PM

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